126 Main Street
Lander, WY 82520
This week the family is on vacation in Wyoming and after a week in semi-luxury civilization of Jackson Hole, then Yellowstone's rustic accommodations, we're on a Llama farm in Lander Wyoming, a town of 6800 people roughly 200 miles SSE of Jackson. When my family travels, typically the best bet for us in a new town is to seek out the closest Brewery. Today's breweries are almost always kid-friendly and always seem to have some kind of food that my family enjoys. And there's the beer. My wife worked on a beer book years ago, and really enjoys trying new microbrews.
When we rolled onto Main Street and saw the Cowfish restaurant with the telltale grain silo attached to it, we knew where our first dinner in Lander was going to be. Restaurateur Jim Mitchell ran the Lander Bar, which had lots of micro-brews for about 5 years before he combined efforts with Jackson's Snake River Brewery to create a perfect oasis in a desert of fried food joints.
The menu is mostly standard meat, fish, and fowl, each with a few twists -like the blue cheese butter on the rib eye and honey-chipotle glaze on the flank steak. I went for the section of the menu called bowls, and had a great dish -sweet shrimp that were either poached or gently sautéed served on a bed of basmati rice, black beans, and a spicy chipotle salsa with huge chunks of ripe mango in it. Also at our table was a plate of beautiful fish tacos made with Alaskan Halibut that looked terrific, which Jim drives into Jackson to get. For the kids, there is the next best children's menu next to Foreign Cinema's. $5.50 gets them a perfect portion of pasta, or finger treats, some raw carrot slices and a nice little sundae for dessert.
I tasted four of the beers, first a caramel-y roasted malted treat called Rockchuck (perfect with my shrimp), and their Jack Mormon Pale Ale, which is really tasted like an IPA -bitter and more hoppy than malty. On my second visit, the Red Canyon Red Ale was just right -well balanced and malty, with enough hops to give it a little bite. The Atlantic City Gold was a yeasty golden lager.
If you are ever planning a trip to Lander, WY, you owe it to yourself and your kids to stop by what clearly is the best game in town, Cowfish.